A Brilliant WWII Novel that is Absolutely Mystical. Kip Vander Hyde has taken WWII history and fantasy stories into a new and improved genre with his novel My Father’s Keeper. His story deals more than just with father and sons and what war does to men but also adds in some personal spiritual discoveries. This is not your same old World War II story that you have already read or seen in some old black and white movie – this is a whole new approach to understanding relationships through a little mystical intervention.
The main character in this story travels to Guadalcanal looking for some understanding of his deceased father and why their relationship seemed so distant and strained at times. He goes to the battle fields where his dad once fought six decades before in hope of discovering something about his father and perhaps himself as well. This is where the story takes a huge leap into the new age as he somehow is transported back in time to the battle and among the young men fighting there. Ultimately, he seeks out his 19 year old father and in the midst of the raging battles they grow to become close buddies. The author’s very creative efforts actually allow you to suspend your disbelief, as you accept this as some kind of Einstein possible alternate universe and begin to get into the story and learn about each man.
There is a great deal of factual history in this story as it jumps successfully through fantasy and fact with ease. This book is entertaining beyond a doubt but it is also a story about forgiveness, love and relationships and more importantly, a spiritual understanding that grows between father and son.
Hyde is a brilliant wordsmith and he puts his story together with great skill and imagination. The dialog fits well with the action. The characters in the book seem so real that they jump right off the pages into your heart and mind. This book was well crafted and is certainly an original genre. His ending with its time travel indications will open up your thought processes. There is a good mixture of humor, drama, action and the full spectrum of emotions, all mixed into a storyline for the ages. This book is destined to become a classic tale. It is that incredible of a story that you will want to recommend it to others as I am to you.
You will not forget this story. After you finish reading it, you will not emotionally walk away from it for a long time; as you examine your own relationships with others in your life. This book, even though it is a novel and even though it deals with issues that seem surreal, will inspire and enhance your own personal inner search for understanding; not many novels will do that for you.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2006)
"My Father's Keeper" is the powerful story of Jack Macmillan, the middle-aged son of a WWII veteran, who travels to the island of Guadalcanal seeking answers to the distant and strained relationship he shared with his recently deceased father. Having been fascinated with the war all of his life, Jack decides to visit and camp out on the site of one of the most famous battles of the campaign. He experiences more than he bargained for though, as he awakens the next morning to discover that he has slipped back in time over six decades, and now finds himself amongst young men half his age, engaged in a desperate struggle on this miserable South Pacific island during WWII. Jack is not the only Macmillan on the island -- his nineteen-year-old father is there as well. After fully accepting his incredible fate, and new role as a member of the U.S. forces fighting against Imperial Japan, Jack cautiously 'stalks', then, ultimately encounters and befriends his teen-age father. The Macmillans experience the horrors of war together as Navy medics and finally grow to become close friends and confidantes. "My Father's Keeper" is a fast reading trek through hardship, desperate heartbreak, youthful hilarity, and unspoken devotion. Although fiction, it is filled with historic fact, and is a profoundly accurate and moving portrayal of the sacrifices made, and the hardships endured, by the U.S. forces during WWII. "My Father's Keeper" is a brilliant tapestry, interweaving fiction with historic figures, places, and events, while taking its readers on a deeply moving and emotional journey of enlightenment, spiritual awakenings and self-discovery. Ultimately though, it is a story of redemption and unconditional love, albeit belated, between an unknowing teen-age father and his middle-aged son. -- "You brought me back 60 years. I was a kid again on Guadalcanal, and it seems as I read the book, that somehow, you were actually there." (John Joseph, G Company Marine)